Fire Damage

He can’t talk to her anymore. Molly is just not the same. It’s the way she silently stares at him for hours on end, with a question that falls to ash as she tries to speak. She is the smell of smoke that turns to taste, dripping down onto the tongue. All and all, she’s just a bitter memory of something they use to have. Jeremy sits with a tumbler full of gin, slowly erasing her from his palette.

“Do you still love me?”

It has taken her three miserable hours to reach that question.


It had taken him three swift seconds two hours ago to reach that answer.


“You’re not her.”

She’s angry, she’s livid, she’s toppling over her own thoughts in a vain hope to find some coherent verbal dagger to strike him with.

“Who is she?”

“She is my wife.”

Now she has her words.

“Then who am I?”

“The remains.”

More words come to her and they’re easier now, but Jeremy leaves the living room for bed. Her anger sort of blows away and she is left numb without him. Everyone said he should have moved away but there was no money for that. So, Jeremy still lives in her house and sleeps in the bed they shared. She remains downstairs, sitting where the couch use to be.

It’s been three years since the fire went out but smoke still rises. He sits on the bed, unwilling to sleep with the dawn looming. The new light catches on her wedding ring which on the dresser they shared. He’s wearing its twin, both just simple gold bands. The photo to the ring’s left was taken in Cancun on their honeymoon. Those were happier times.

He thinks maybe he should sell the house. The new owners probably wouldn’t even notice the smoke damage and almost certainly wouldn’t notice her.